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Richard Mdluli, co-accused must pay own court bill for fraud, theft, corruption trial

By Zelda Venter | Pretoria News |

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his two co-accused will have to foot the legal bill for their upcoming criminal trial.

Mdluli, former supply chain manager Heine Barnard and erstwhile chief financial officer of the State Security Agency Solomon Lazarus earlier applied to the SAPS as their former employer to pay for their fraud, theft and corruption trial.

The charges against them stem from the time that they were employed by the state – between 2008 and 2012 – and were at the helm of the police crime intelligence services. They said that the employer should thus foot their legal bill.

Their trial was placed on hold for more than a year to grant them the opportunity to apply for state funding.

The three were back in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday, and the matter was postponed to February 22 when a final trial date will be set.

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All three accused face charges related to the alleged abuse of the police’s secret slush fund.

The accused will later this year be expected to answer to a hefty indictment running into more than 70 pages.

The 64-year-old Mdluli and his co-accused, who are each 59, face several charges of fraud, corruption and theft relating to funds in the secret service account used to finance covert projects, investigations and operations. The funds, in turn, derived from the state fiscus.

Barnard is facing an additional charge of defeating the administration of justice. The allegations against the trio include the payment of private trips to China and Singapore, the private use of witness protection houses and the leasing of Mdluli’s private residence to the state in order to pay his bond.

Among others, it is claimed in the indictment that during one of Mdluli’s trips to Singapore in 2009, he allegedly used some of the funds for personal expenses. It is claimed that he bought electronic equipment, clothing, jewellery and perfume, using state funds.

A further allegation is that a month prior to the Singapore trip, Mdluli booked a holiday for himself and his wife to China, flying business class, at taxpayers’ expense.

It is also claimed that he once again used the slush fund to buy new shoes, electronics as well as to finance their sightseeing trips and other expenses.

Mdluli, who is in custody, is already serving a five-year jail term for the assault and kidnapping following an incident in 1998. Although in custody, Mdluli failed to appear in court on several occasions, during which he cited ill health as a reason.